The beautiful philosophy of Natalie Stewart
David Goodson | 7/17/2014, 11:38 a.m.
For a minute there, it was hard for anyone not to get caught up in the World Cup. The subject even permeated a discussion I had recently with an innovative young lady. Once the topic was broached, surprisingly, she said, “I love sports. I think there are a lot of interesting things that can be seen through the arts and through sports. I find it intriguing to see where people get their drive to compete and excel.
“Watching the Brazilian soccer team represent the home country, knowing the political climate and still willing to bear that responsibility is a true testament to character. The emotional outpouring after their defeat showed it was much more than a game. It’s way bigger than that.”
To drive the point further, she added, “Take for instance Usain Bolt. Someone at the peak of themselves. His rise to prominence was similar to that of Michael Johnson, yet he ran a different kind of race. He was able to build on what Johnson did and take it to another space. Now what you’re seeing is not just watching sports, you’re actually seeing evolution—the development of the possibilities of the body. Nuclear physics, quantum physics.
“You also get to see integrity. A person who stayed at home amongst his people instead of going elsewhere to become a big commodity. So when a race starts, you see in his grace a sense of peace and freedom that you can hardly tell how fast he’s moving.”
Some of the components described in her two points are also salient to the career of one Natalie Stewart. She, too, has an emotional connection to the people that she fully expresses without the constraints of pressure or shackles. Although she hasn’t ascended to the status of a “Supa Star,” as the creator of a sound that was self-described as “poetic delivery with musical intent,” you’d have to “Say Yes” if questioned on her musical impact.
While she can’t shake the brilliance of her stint as half of the group Floetry, “The Floacist” follows her 2010 initial solo outing “Floetic Soul,” which was followed by 2012’s “The Floacist Presents Floetry Re:Birth.” Her latest offering, “Rise of the Phoenix Mermaid,” is inspired by the understanding that her original “Floetic” concept still has an appreciative, expanding audience that’ll stay along for the entire journey because they believe in her intent and artistic purity.
To that she shares, “I’m at the age where I’ve had enough experience to have a little hindsight and distance between just being and rushing forward but not that far gone where I don’t have new experiences. So with this album, I find myself at a place of acceptance. I’m at the place where I’ve finally accepted the fact that I’m a solo artist. As much as that was not what I planned to do, with what I’m doing, issues such as airplay and the like aren’t as important. Instead of concentrating on things that aren’t there I focus on what is there.” I understand that in my music there’s responsibility and it’s inspiring. It pushes my shifts in melodic structure; the articulation, what you say, what you explore, what you share and I embrace that totally. I’m in a reciprocal lane and I like that lane.”
Speaking of reciprocation, the time has come to actually interact with her like minds. After her third solo effort, the Floacist is about to touch the stage. “After 14 years as a professional recording artist sure there were times when I had those ‘are we there yet?’ moments. But being away from doing what I love to do as a performance artist I’m much more appreciative and flattered to get to feel that energy. We gather, we build, we embrace, we celebrate and empower each other and that feels so amazing.”
Sunday, July 20 at SOB’s, 204 Varick St., with doors at 7:30 p.m. and showtime at 9 p.m., is the where and when. Floacist gives you the why, saying, “I love New York, and SOB’s in particular has been one of the vortexes. It’s one of those spaces that the love and energy has always been high, and I know it’s going to be special.”
There it is! Holla next week. Till then, enjoy the nightlife.